Last night, I marked ashes on foreheads with the words, “From dust you came, to dust you shall return. Repent and believe the gospel.” As I looked into people’s eyes, there was this moment. Something spiritual was happening. To be reminded of our mortality, and our finiteness and the ways we had separated ourselves from God, and here was an opportunity to remember our humanness and to return to the heart of God who made us and claims us…to really believe the good news of the gospel, well it was a gift.
Humility is not thinking too much of ourselves. We are not God. The marking of the ash is a gift to put my life in proper perspective. But humility is equally not thinking too little of ourselves. We are created good. We are loved. We are beloved. The good news is for us and not claiming it is also a form of arrogance.
I don’t know about you but my harshest critic is myself. At least I am pretty sure it is because I do know I have some critics out there! But the most difficult and persistent voice is the one in my own head that beats me up for the mistakes I make, or the idiosycrancies of my personality that I wish were different, or how I look at others who are more charming, more sophisticated, more socially adept, more skiiled, more confident (you get the idea) and wish I could be more like them.
Sabbath for me is turning down the volume on that voice. It is tuning into God’s word spoken into my life, and really trusting it is true, more true than any other judging voice in my head about who I am not.. I am God’s beloved with whom God is well pleased. That kind of Sabbath can happen anywhere, anytime. I encourage you, this Lent, to write a statement of who you are, from God’s perspective. Write it down. Repeat it often. Claim your identity in Christ and let that be a Sabbath moment whenever and wherever you need it.